The Utopian Function of Art and Literature: Selected Essays
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These essays in aesthetics by the philosopher Ernst Bloch belong to the tradition of cultural criticism represented by Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, and Walter Benjamin. Bloch's fascination with art as a reflection of both social realities and human dreams is evident in them. Whether he is discussing architecture or detective novels, the theme that drives the work is always the same - the striving for "something better," for a "homeland" that is more socially aware, more humane, more just.The book opens with an illuminating discussion between Bloch and Adorno on the meaning of utopia; then follow 12 essays written between 1930 and 1973, on topics as diverse as aesthetic theory, genres such as music, painting, theater, film, opera, poetry, and the novel, and perhaps most important, popular culture in the form of fairy tales, detective stories, and dime novels.Ernst Bloch (1885-1977) was a profoundly original and unorthodox philosopher, social theorist, and cultural critic. The MIT Press has previously published his Natural Law and Human Dignity and his magnum opus, The Principle of Hope. The Utopian Function of Art and Literature is included in the series Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought, edited by Thomas McCarthy.
a world with fighting, corpses, victors, horrors, dangers, decisions, with the gloom and gaiety of Shakespearian dimension. There is a kind of nature to which no response has been given since Rimbaud, and, without an evocative qualitative language of latency, there is no answer whatsoever that can be given in a poetic way. All that, of course, denies the beautifully completed coherences in poetry since they are only possible idealistically. On the other hand, when observed from a Marxist
space. Expressionism experimented with it by generating stereometric figures through rotating or swinging bodies, which at least have nothing in common with the perspective visual space (Sehraum); an architecture of the abstract, which wants to be quasimeta-cubic, sometimes seeks structures appearing to be similarly remote, not organic anymore, not even anymore meso-cosmical. Of course, the space of these bodies of rotation remains as Euclidian as any other, and the so-called un-Euclidian
now grasped in the world, namely, the Marxist situational analysis and the economic and dialectical research of tendencies as well as the concordances that ultimately can be understood: now-time. Both, situational analysis and economic and dialectical research of tendencies, should make satire, criticism, and human Utopia poetically more effective, putting it more in command of reality (seinsmdchtiger), providing that both, standing on their feet, are able to walk sufficiently and do enough. Of
other pure art form. For the person not kindly disposed to the theater, the illusion of the stage might resemble more the appearance of a wax figure – and that happens quite often and not only among critics of the theater – than the elegant transparent appearance of a painting that bears no real experience. In addition to that, there is the so-called transformation of the actor hero or the actor martyr. If we consider what real hypocrisy means, the term comedian stems from this. Indeed, the
participation in Creation, became so important for Baader in later times. And further in the past, having influenced Bohme himself, the Cabala teaches just like Baader that the world is a retrospective prison. This is emphasized especially by Isaac Luria in the sixteenth century. According to him, “bereshith,” the beginning (the first word in the Bible), does not mean the beginning of a creation but points to a capture (tsimsum = contraction) of God Himself. Of course the crime here is attributed